The Santa Clara Broncos will spend their Thanksgiving holiday upping the level of competition by a healthy dose as they head to Anaheim for the 2011 ESPNU 76 Classic. The tournament includes a variety of big name teams, including Villanova, New Mexico, Saint Louis, Oklahoma and Boston College. The Broncos are one of the underdogs in the tournament, but with WCC leading scorer Kevin Foster in their lineup, they always have a puncher's chance. Villanova is the favorite to win the tournament at 3-2. In Las Vegas you can get Santa Clara at 20-1. It's a long-shot, but in a tournament like this, all it takes is a modest hot streak to pull off the string of upsets.
The Broncos open against Mountain West co-favorite New Mexico. The Lobos are led by Steve Alford and were at the top of preseason media polls in the MWC. The Broncos are 2-4 vs. New Mexico and are meeting for the second time at a neutral site tournament over Thanksgiving. The two met during Thanksgiving weekend at the Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage with the Broncos winning 54-50 on Nov. 25, 1983.
The SCU-UNM game will be broadcast live nationally on ESPNU at 6 p.m. on Thurs., Nov. 24. The New Mexico game will also be broadcast via the Bronco Radio Network on both KDOW 1220 AM and Broncos All-Access at www.SantaClaraBroncos.com with the broadcast beginning at 7 p.m. on a tape delay broadcast. Out of the listening area, KDOW is streamed online at www.1220kdow.com. All but one game in the tournament will be broadcast on ESPN2 or ESPNU.
If the Broncos can get past New Mexico, they would face the winner of Oklahoma-Washington State. A loss would set up Santa Clara in the consolation bracket against the loser of OU-WSU. You can view the entire bracket here (PDF).